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Embattled former president of Wings to Go restaurant facing two new lawsuits


American Express National Bank is suing the embattled former president of Wings to Go Burlington, Inc., James B. Upchurch, Jr. of Burlington, for allegedly defaulting on a business loan he obtained in the fall of 2017.

Upchurch was charged earlier this year with felony corporate malfeasance and embezzlement of more than $100,000 from the Wings to Go franchise at 3421 South Church Street in Burlington.

Meanwhile, Upchurch and his former business partners in Wings to Go Burlington filed competing lawsuits in civil superior court last year, each accusing the other side of wrongdoing.

His former business partners in WTG Burlington allege that Upchurch misused thousands in company funds for his personal travel, dining, and entertainment expenses during his tenure as the company’s president from 2015 until 2017, according to court documents.

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In his own lawsuit, Upchurch accused his former partners of orchestrating an “illicit coup” to remove him as the president, sole officer, and general manager of Wings to Go Burlington – and ultimately removed and replaced him without providing him the proper notice, as required, he says, under the company’s bylaws and state law.

The latest lawsuit that has been filed against Upchurch, by American Express National Bank, is seeking recovery of an alleged outstanding balance of $7,049.06 for what is described as a $20,000 business loan he obtained in September 2017.

A copy of the 2017 loan agreement, which is included in the court file, lists WTG Burlington and Upchurch as the borrowers and indicates the last payment was made in late 2020.

American Express National Bank is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is being represented for its lawsuit by the Zwicker & Associates law firm in Charlotte.

Discover Bank is also suing Upchurch in Alamance County civil court to recover an alleged balance of $6,616.64 in unpaid charges to a personal credit card.

The court file gives no indication that Upchurch obtained the credit card, or later made those charges, in conjunction with his former role as president of Wings to Go Burlington.

Discover Bank is headquartered in East New Albany, Ohio, and is being represented for its lawsuit by the Smith Debnam Narron Drake Saintsing & Myers law firm in Raleigh.

Upchurch was recently served with copies of both lawsuits at 325 East Davis Street, Apartment 10A, in Burlington but had not filed a response to either complaint by press time.

He is currently scheduled to appear in Alamance County district court for his criminal charges – felony embezzlement, felony embezzlement of more than $100,000, and felony corporate malfeasance – on January 7, 2022.

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